• Wyatt Creech

I am very pleased to be here today to open this new facility - the Grey Street campus which is part of the Manawatu Polytechnic. I commend you on this development. It is great to see continuing development of educational facilities both here and throughout New Zealand. The growth of the tertiary sector has been a very positive story in New Zealand over the last few years. In 1991 there were just over 114,000 EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Students) in New Zealand tertiary education. In 1996 there will be nearly 143,000 EFTS, a growth of 25 %.

Your polytechnic has well and truly made the most of the growth - you have made substantial efforts to improve the standard of facilities and to develop teaching here.

The opening of the new facilities on this campus is another milestone in the continual development of Manawatu Polytechnic as a whole.

Since becoming an autonomous institution in 1990, Manawatu Polytechnic has grown considerably to over 2000 equivalent full-time students in 1996. This growth has been achieved by concentrating the polytechnics efforts on the provision of quality vocational education and training.

Today, your impact on the local community is substantial. In 1995, the polytechnic employed around 700 people in part or full-time work, and contributed $20 million directly to the local economy. The added value of the training you have delivered to the community cannot be calculated, but it will be big.

The Grey Street campus was originally the playing fields and sports ground of the old Palmerston North Technical College. I am told that one of the original buildings still exists on campus today. Good old Kiwi make do ingenuity, making best use of everything available, is good to see. Manawatu Polytechnics involvement on Grey Street began by sharing the site with the College of Education in 1980, when the first
nursing courses were offered.

Today I am advised that there are over 650 students taught on this campus and the range of programmes offered has expanded way beyond nursing.

The modern accommodation we see here on this campus incorporates special facilities for the degrees of Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Applied Science - Medical Imaging Technology (in association with Queensland University of Technology), as well as programmes such as the Diploma in Veterinary
Nursing, offered conjointly with Massey University, and the Diploma in Science. The special facilities on this campus include:

exercise physiology laboratories
a medical diagnostic imaging equipment room and laboratories
science laboratories
the polytechnics main library
nursing clinical laboratories
In addition to programmes covering traditional clinical nursing, there is an active early childhood development programme, courses for rest home workers and a newly developed Diploma in Complementary Health. Continuing education for nurses already in employment is an important focus for the faculty, which has programmes that allow enrolled and registered nurses to upgrade their qualifications to degree status.

The medical diagnostic imaging programme, taught by the Faculty of Science and Industrial Technology on the Grey Street campus, is one of only three such programmes offered in New Zealand.

I am advised that Manawatu Polytechnics students have dominated the list of top graduates in New Zealand in this area in recent years. In 1993, the final year medical diagnostic imaging students were the first and second placed graduates nationally. In 1994, second and third placed and seven out of the first ten graduates nationally, and in 1995, Manawatu Polytechnic students were Dux and runner-up in this area.

The national Rontgen prize for the student anatomy poster was also won by a Manawatu polytechnic student. The programme is being offered in 1996, in association with Queensland University of Technology, as a three-year Bachelor of Applied Science - Medical Imaging Technology.

These kinds of programmes and the standard of teaching contribute greatly to supplying a highly skilled workforce, offering exciting career options for students and also addressing many of the skills needed in New Zealand.

To produce the highly skilled workforce necessary for New Zealand to remain competitive internationally, it is important that the best possible environment and facilities are provided for the students.

The substantial renovation the Grey Street campus that we see here today to bring it up to modern educational standards, demonstrates that the Manawatu Polytechnic is committed towards that goal and I would like to commend the staff and management on this development.

I wish you all the best for the future of this institution.